Updated: Jun 23
I used to think that getting my period was a hardship and an inconvenience. Like I had to endure something. I found it grossly unfair that we, as women, had to go through this cycle every month, with its mixture of bloating, weight gain, mood swings and spots on our faces. It was not something I looked forward to every month.
Yet when we look at society, this is the message we've been given about our menstrual cycle - it's a curse and unpredictable. In fact, aspects of our innate femininity has been seen as dirty, unworthy and shameful.
But after being exposed to the work around cycles and nature, reading books like "Regenerative Living" by Sam Garcia, working with an traditional astrologer to read my chart, tuning more into the power and cycles of the moon, and doing some deep work around my feminine essence, I've realised how disconnected I was from my natural power, and why I burnt out.
I realised I could use my menstrual cycle to my benefit and that it didn't have to be a battle every month.
Modern Society And The Addiction To Busyness
It’s fair to say that most of modern society is based on and suited to the male hormonal cycle. We most commonly plan our activities in 24-hour blocks. Yet research shows us that men’s hormonal turnover is within the 24-hour circadian rhythm and based on the sun.
As women in this modern world, we’re compelled to follow this rhythm, having to be at our best, be completely productive and full of energy every. single. day.
In Kate Northrup’s book, Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management for Ambitious Women, she talks about the addiction to busyness and the obsession with always trying to do more, which leads women, especially working mothers, to feel like they’re always failing their families, their careers, their spouses, and themselves.
Her book gives women the permission and tools to change the way they approach their lives and allow them to embrace living in tune with the cyclical nature of the feminine and each chapter gives the reader a small experiment to try and see what would happen if she did less in one specific way.
What Is Cyclical Living?
Cyclical living means that we tune in to the ebbs and flows of nature’s cycles – seasons, lunar and menstruation.
In nature, the best time to plant is during the dormant season, meaning late winter, early spring. Then we wait for plants to shoot up, grow and bloom during the hot months of summer, then we harvest in autumn/fall. During winter we leave the ground to rest for the cold months.
So as with nature, which provides the seasons for us, giving us a specific time each year to accomplish certain tasks. Our menstrual cycle also provides the best times to perform so we can harness our energy and vitality more effectively.
In facts we should see it as a way of working with, rather than against nature.
And not in a capitalistic way to produce more, make more, grow more. In a way that honours our bodies, unleashes creativity and allows for personal effectiveness and balance.
Women’s Menstrual Cycle Phases
So as you know, a menstruating woman’s hormones correspond more with the Infradian rhythm. This is associated with the 28 days of the month/menstrual cycle and the 28 days of the lunar cycle.
There are four distinct phases to every woman’s cycle – menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal. Each phase corresponds with the four phases of the moon and the four seasons of the year.
During these four stages, it’s best to manage your tasks and energy according to the phase you’re in:
Menstruation Phase – Days 1 to 5
During Menstruation it’s a time for deep rest, meditation and evaluating your life and goals. You might feel withdrawn, tired or sluggish. It’s a time of low oestrogen. Inward reflection is necessary and alone time is essential so cancel any plans to socialise, if you haven’t done so already. Drink plenty of water and take good, gentle care of yourself. This phase corresponds with the new moon and winter.
Follicular Phase – Days 6 to 12
During the Follicular phase, oestrogen is increasing and we have more energy. Our egg-producing follicles in our ovaries begin to mature as the ovary gets ready to release the egg. Here we start to focus on new beginnings. Start planning or brainstorming new ideas or projects. Your creativity and productivity is at its peak. This phase corresponds with the waxing quarter moon or spring.
Ovulation Phase – Days 13 – 18
Ovulation is a time of high energy, full engagement, attraction and connection. Our oestrogen levels are at their peak and we’re positively glowing. This phase corresponds with the full moon and summer. In summer, we see it as a season for celebration and the start of the harvest season.
Our ovary releases an egg ready to be fertilised. We are physiologically, creatively and energetically more fertile. We also get a burst of testosterone around this time, leaving us feeling more confident and outgoing. We’ve come out of our shell fully and flitting around like a butterfly. Social functions, networking, collaborating on projects and communicating are the name of the game here.
Luteal Phase – Days 19-28
The Luteal phase is the longest phase of our cycle and best time to do deep work where our full focus is on detail orientated tasks and we can work to complete projects. This is because estrogen levels have started to drop whilst our bodies start producing progesterone. This causes us to slow down and this is an ideal time to work fully immersed – what a wonderfully productive time for us! We can also chill out to a Netflix series binge. This is also the time for moodiness and bloating. We probably don’t feel our prettiest and most amenable selves. This phase corresponds with the waning quarter moon or autumn.
As women, our periods impact our mood, feelings and energy. It’s worth exploring these changes to see how we can live more calm and peaceful lives, in line with our energy levels and values. Try some of these suggestions and comment on the Life By Design Community Facebook group.
Turn To Nature, Reconnect With Your Natural Rhythms And Menstruation Cycle Phases.
Turning to nature, specifically the moon and its phases, can help us reconnect with the rhythms of our body and in turn learn to appreciate our deep femininity.
Cyclical living means we start to become more attuned to the cycles of nature and is the key to better mental and physical health, more energy, happiness, productivity, and growth. Even if your cycle isn’t lined up with the cycle of the moon, just be aware that these cycles exist and see how using these cycles can help you.
Embrace the Wisdom of Cyclical Living
Embrace the Flow
Recognise the natural ebb and flow of energy, creativity, and motivation in your life. Learn to honour and work with these cycles rather than pushing against them. Allow yourself periods of rest and rejuvenation, and harness moments of heightened energy for focused action.
Tailor your self-care practices to align with the different phases of your cycles. During low-energy times, prioritise restorative activities like meditation, gentle movement, or self-reflection. In high-energy phases, engage in invigorating exercises, creative pursuits, or goal-oriented tasks. By adapting self-care to your changing needs, you enhance your overall well-being.
Reflect and Adjust
Regularly reflect on your experiences and lessons from each cycle. Take time for introspection, journaling, or coaching conversations to gain insights and refine your intentions. Use this reflection as a compass for making adjustments, setting new goals, and aligning your actions with your evolving self. By staying adaptable and intentional, you can navigate cyclical living with greater clarity and purpose.
Keep checking in with yourself by regularly asking yourself “How am I feeling today? How is my energy? What do I feel like doing?”. Trust your body, listen to your intuition. You hold the wisdom within, just make space to tune in.
The Effect Of Hormones
Remember your hormones affect more than just your period – they affect your energy levels, skin, nutritional needs, state of mind, your sex drive and even your weight.
What would it feel like to start living with our periods rather than dreading our time of the month? Let’s relook at each phase and appreciate that it brings its own unique opportunities.
Did you know there is an actual pastime called Gardening by the Moon? Here people are encouraged to follow the phases of the Moon, and it’s an idea that has been around for as long as humans have been growing their own food.
Those who swear by this ancient growing method say the water in both the ground and in plants are affected by the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon. There is a calendar for when to plant what according to the specific phase of the moon. All aboveground crops (i.e. lettuce, spinach, cabbage) should be planted when the Moon is waxing (growing brighter) while below ground crops (potatoes, carrots, turnips) do best when the Moon is waning (growing dimmer).